Electric golf carts are efficient, fast, and handy, with many advantages over traditional gas options. However, your electric golf cart is only as good as its batteries. Therefore, it’s vital to properly maintain your golf cart batteries, especially during the winter, because cold weather can be a death sentence for improperly maintained batteries.
The best way to ensure a long and healthy life for your golf cart batteries is to maintain them during winter. Properly maintaining your golf cart batteries for winter includes charging them, filling them with water, cleaning and protecting them, and checking them periodically.
With winter fast approaching and the golf cart season winding down, you’ve come to the right place to learn about winter maintenance for your electric golf cart batteries. As long as you follow the tips and tricks in this article, your golf cart batteries will be ready to go next spring.
Steps to Winterize Your Electric Golf Cart Batteries
Winterizing your electric golf cart batteries isn’t overly complicated, and it’s something you can easily do. However, it’s important to be meticulous and thorough when prepping your batteries for winter.
Clean the Battery
Your first step should be to clean the battery and the terminals. One of the leading causes for malfunctioning batteries is that the terminals get corroded, or the battery itself gets damaged because of a lack of maintenance. Here’s how to clean your golf cart batteries.
- Remove the battery from the golf cart.
- Use a wet rag to wipe down the battery casing. Dry it thoroughly with a towel before continuing.
- Use a mixture of baking soda and water at a ratio of one cup of baking soda to one gallon of water.
- Take a soft brush with fine bristles and dip it into the baking soda/water concoction.
- Softly scrub the battery terminals and any parts of the battery that are still dirty with the brush.
- Continue scrubbing gently until the batteries and terminals are clean and corrosion-free.
- Thoroughly dry the battery before continuing.
Top Off the Water Levels
Next, take distilled water and refill the water compartment of the various battery cells. Water is needed in batteries to keep them from overheating and to balance out the acid and electrolytes inside the battery. It’s important to use distilled water because it’s alkaline and won’t disturb the acid ratio of the batteries.
Make sure to fill each battery cell to the specified depth according to your owner’s manual. Underfilling will throw off the ratio and harm the battery cell, but overfilling could cause freezing during the winter. While some electric golf cart batteries don’t have water compartments, most do.
Charge the Battery Fully
With the battery clean and the water levels perfect, you can go ahead and reconnect your battery to the terminals and install them in your golf cart. Next, fully charge the battery. Once the battery is fully charged, you should disconnect it from the charger to avoid overcharging.
However, if you have an automatic or trickle charger, you can optionally leave the charger hooked up to the battery throughout the winter. Automatic chargers are designed to turn on and off to keep your battery fully charged. However, automatic chargers are prone to overcharging, so it’s important to check the battery periodically, even if you use one.
Check the Cable Connections
Before or after you disconnect the charger, you should double-check your cable connections. If the connection between the cable and the terminal isn’t tight enough, it could drain the battery. A loose connection will also interfere with the charging process and cause issues.
Use a wrench or ratchet set to firmly tighten the cable connectors to the terminals, being careful not to over or under-tighten. Over-tightening the cables can break the post or terminal or cause a fire.
Check the Batteries Periodically
Whether you utilize an automatic charger or not, you should check the batteries every two to four weeks. Check the charge and recharge the batteries anytime they’re less than 70% charged.
Tips for Storing in the Vehicle
There’s a lot of debate about whether you should remove golf cart batteries from the vehicle during winter or leave them inside. If you decide to leave the batteries inside the cart, you should store the golf cart in a warm, dry area. If possible, storing it in a heated and well-ventilated building is best.
Nothing will kill batteries faster than cold weather, so it’s imperative to keep your golf cart battery out of the cold. You should also place rodent repellent around the perimeter of the golf cart to protect the battery and wiring from rats and mice.
Tips for Storing Outside the Vehicle
If you decide to remove the batteries from the golf cart, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
- Store the battery or batteries on a pallet or shelf to keep them off the cold ground.
- Storing them off the ground will also protect your batteries from water damage.
- Never stack your batteries on top of one another.
- Store the batteries inside in a cool area with a temperature between 40 and 70 degrees.
Should You Take Batteries Out of an Electric Golf Cart During Winter?
Whether you take your batteries out of your electric golf cart or leave it installed doesn’t matter. The main thing that matters is that you winterize and care for your golf cart battery by following the steps in this article. Leaving it in the cart will offer more protection from the elements than removing it, but removing the battery means you can store it in your home or heated garage where you might not have space for the golf cart.
What Do You Do With an Electric Golf Cart During Winter?
While the batteries are one of the most important components of your electric golf cart, it’s important to care for the cart as a whole. Here are some steps to follow to prepare your electric golf cart for winter.
- Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the golf cart.
- Check the pressure and tightness of your golf cart tires.
- Repair any rust or corrosion on the frame or body of the golf cart.
- Cover the golf cart with a golf cart cover for protection.
- Store the golf cart in a conditioned, ventilated building or beneath a shelter.
Can Electric Golf Cart Batteries Freeze?
The main reason it’s important to winterize your electric golf cart batteries is that they can freeze. A fully charged and properly prepared battery is much less likely to freeze than a partially charged one. Both the water inside the battery cells and the electrolytes in the battery are prone to freezing unless they’re properly prepared.
Additionally, freezing temperatures can kill individual battery cells if the battery isn’t winterized. You can’t revive dead battery cells, and they’re expensive and difficult to replace. In most cases, you’ll have to replace the entire battery if enough cells die.